The CCCC Research Initiative “Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy—What We Know, What We Need to Know” was approved in early 2004 and has been awarded three consecutive years (2004-2005, 2005-2006, and 2006-2007). This effort has largely been focused on supporting new meta-analytical research by providing funding and an opportunity for researchers from all participating institutions to gather to share ideas and receive advice. The program aims to create an opportunity for researchers to bring together what the profession has already learned, through a variety of methodologies, regarding the teaching and study of composition, rhetoric, and literacy. While each award year has had a slightly different focus, in general the proposed research should address, in one of these areas, questions such as: What do we know? What do we still need to know? What research approaches seem fruitful?
The Research Initiative was indefinitely put on hold by the CCCC Executive Committee in March of 2007. In April 2008, the CCCC Executive Committee approved committing 5% of the contingency reserve in FY 09 to establish a core descriptive database that can serve as a resource for all future CCCC-funded research projects. The goal is to create a sustained research initiative to advance scholarship in composition and rhetoric and enhance the reputation of CCCC. Under the current plan, the CCCC Research Initiative will re-launch in the summer of 2009.
CCCC-Sponsored Research: Writing in High School, Writing in College
In the spring of 2006, the CCCC Executive Committee invited proposals for a single grant of $25,000 from the CCCC Research Initiative to study the amount and kinds of writing American students do in high school and college. The purpose of this focused initiative is to create an empirically-based description of student writing in school and college settings. The expectation for the project was that it would begin in late spring 2006, that the bulk of data would be gathered during fall 2006, with a progress report made by November 1, and with a final report due in March 2007. The ideal proposal would be national in scope, gathering information from enough students, in enough diverse settings, that broad claims could reasonably be made about the nature nationally of student writing. In May of 2006, CCCC awarded Dr. Joanne Addison, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, and Dr. Sharon James McGee, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, the $25,000 grant. The selection committee was especially impressed by the thoughtful work Drs. Addison and McGee had already done on the survey instrument. Committee members also liked the portfolio approach to assessing student work. In the spring of 2008, the project deadline was extended to June 2009.